Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is hoping his state can be exempted from one of the most controversial parts of the health care bill that he voted for: the individual mandate.

Last week, Wyden sent a letter to the Oregon Health Authority encouraging the state to seek an exemption from the individual mandate allowed under section 1332, because “the heart of real health reform is affordability and not mandates.”

That section also allows states to set up their own health care systems in 2017 (by applying for a waiver) as long as they meet minimum federal requirements. But, Wyden said, he intends to introduce legislation soon that will accelerate that date to 2014, and might try to move the date up even more.

Wyden, who was influential in getting section 1332 included in the national health care bill, said he “wrote Section 1332 specifically with Oregon in mind.” He has been an ardent supporter of individual mandates in the past, authoring the Wyden-Bennett health care bill that included such a requirement.

“Oregonians have demonstrated again and again that a one size fits all approach from Washington is not the best approach,” he said in the letter.


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